Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center


Research at the Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center focuses on providing the scientific understanding and technologies needed to support and implement sound management and conservation of our Nation's biological resources occurring in Hawai'i and other Pacific island locations.

Spotlight on Research

Spotlight on Research

Learn more about how researchers are tracking how rare plants are responding to changing environmental conditions.

Plant Responses

Featured Scientist

Featured Scientist

PIERC Microbiologist Dr. Carter Atkinson is using new tools to detect emerging threats and rare species in Pacific Island ecosystems.

Atkinson Research


Date published: June 8, 2018

Keeping Track of "Caly"

Caly isn't likely to wonder off off, but with a remote camera and monitoring station online 24-hours a day, USGS and partners at the State of Hawai‘i Division of Forestry and Wildlife, University of Hawai‘i, and the USFWS can learn how an extremely rare plant is responding to changes in environmental conditions.

Date published: November 22, 2017

Sniffing Out Better Tools for Addressing Avian Botulism

Dogs have great olfactory abilities and wildlife biologists think they can help endangered waterbirds in Hawai‘i. Dogs are being trained to sniff out the endangered ducks (koloa maoli (Anas wyvilliana) and Laysan ducks (A. laysanensis)) that die of avian botulism. 

Date published: July 10, 2017

Hawaiian Birds Rapidly Colonize Young Restoration Forest

Forest birds on the island of Hawaii are responding positively to being restored in one of the largest, ongoing reforestation projects at Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, according to a new study released July 10 in the journal Restoration Ecology.


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Year Published: 2020

Hawaiian hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus semotus) acoustic monitoring at Hawaii Army National Guard (HIARNG) installations statewide

Acoustic sampling for occurrence of the endangered Hawaiian hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus semotus) was conducted at 18 “long-term” acoustic monitoring stations on 12 Hawai‘i Army National Guard (HIARNG) installations across the islands of Hawai‘i, Maui, Moloka‘i, O‘ahu, and Kaua‘i between 2012 and 2018. Bats were confirmed as present at 10 of these...

Montoya-Aiona, Kristina; Pinzari, Corinna; Peck, Robert W; Brinck, Kevin W.; Bonaccorso, Frank J

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Year Published: 2020

Response to terrestrial nest predators among endemic and introduced Hawaiian birds

Birds free from nest predators for long periods may either lose the ability to recognize and respond to predators or retain antipredator responses if they are not too costly. How these alternate scenarios play out has rarely been investigated in an avian community whose members have different evolutionary histories. We presented models of two nest...

Cummins, George C; Theimer, Tad C; Paxton, Eben H.

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Year Published: 2019

Facilitated adaptation for conservation – Can gene editing save Hawaii's endangered birds from climate driven avian malaria?

Avian malaria has played a significant role in causing extinctions, population declines, and limiting the elevational distribution of Hawaiian honeycreepers. Most threatened and endangered honeycreepers only exist in high-elevation forests where the risk of malaria infection is limited. Because Culex mosquito vectors and avian malaria dynamics are...

Samuel, Michael D.; Liao, Wei; Atkinson, Carter T.; Lapointe, Dennis